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Scott Cullen Analytics


Nashville’s Saros is one of the game’s best backups; Spezza, Severson, Nash and more in Scott Cullen’s Statistically Speaking.


Juuse Saros – Nashville’s second-year netminder posted a 43-save shutout in a 1-0 win against Vegas. After three miserable starts early in the year, he has a .956 save percentage in his past nine games. Since the start of last season, he’s among the best backup goaltenders in the game.

Here is a look at the top goaltenders that have played between 20 and 60 games since the start of last season, sorted by the difference between 5-on-5 save percentage and 5-on-5 expected save percentage:


GOALTENDING LEADERS, 2016-2018 5-on-5 SV% - xSV%, (20 - 60 GP)

Philipp Grubauer Washington 39 .940 .916 .024
Aaron Dell San Jose 38 .937 .922 .015
Juuse Saros Nashville 33 .931 .922 .009
Carter Hutton St. Louis 47 .933 .926 .007
Anders Nilsson Vancouver 41 .926 .919 .007
Jonathan Quick Los Angeles 52 .928 .922 .006
Curtis McElhinney Toronto 28 .928 .923 .005
Anton Khudobin Boston 32 .925 .920 .004
Jaroslav Halak N.Y. Islanders 57 .922 .918 .004
Marc-Andre Fleury Vegas 52 .922 .919 .003
Antti Raanta Arizona 54 .927 .925 .002
Keith Kinkaid New Jersey 38 .923 .921 .002
Al Montoya Edmonton 25 .921 .920 .001
Jacob Markstrom Vancouver 57 .924 .923 .000

Jason Spezza – The veteran Stars centre returned from being a healthy scratch and scored twice in a 4-2 win at Detroit, ending a five-game scoreless slump.

Damon Severson – The Devils blueliner scored two goals in a 4-1 win vs. the Islanders after posting two points (1 G, 1 A) in his previous 18 games.

Rick Nash – The veteran Rangers winger had just one assist in his previous 12 games, but tallied a pair of goals in a 5-1 win against Philadelphia.

Miles Wood, Pavel Zacha, Kyle Palmieri – The Devils trio had a ridiculous game (19 for, 2 against, 90.5 CF%, 11-2 scoring chances) in a 4-1 win against the Islanders.


Mike Green – Detroit’s veteran blueliner had a tough game (5 for, 16 against, 23.8 CF%) in a 4-2 loss to Dallas.

Nick Bonino – The Nashville centre was on the wrong side of the puck (5 for, 19 against, 20.8 CF%, 1-13 scoring chances) in a 1-0 win over Vegas.

Kevin Labanc – San Jose’s second-year winger was thumped (3 for, 20 against, 13.0 CF%, 1-7 scoring chances) in a 3-2 shootout win at Arizona.

Nick Leddy – The Islanders’ top defenceman had a rough night (15 for, 29 against, 34.1 CF%, 10-19 scoring chances) and was on the ice for two goals against in a 4-1 loss at New Jersey.

Brian Elliott – Philadelphia’s slumping goaltender allowed five goals on 21 shots and was pulled after two periods in a 5-1 loss at the Rangers. He has a .861 save percentage in his past seven starts.


Ryan Johansen – Nashville’s No. 1 centre took a hit to the head from Golden Knights LW William Carrier and did not return for the third period.

Viktor Arvidsson – The Nashville winger was placed on injured reserve after suffering a lower-body injury in practice. With Arvidsson out, Johansen getting hurt and Filip Forsberg already hurt, the Predators are currently missing three top forwards.


Blues C Paul Stastny assisted on both St. Louis goals in a 2-1 overtime win at Toronto, and has eight points (3 G, 5 A) in the past six games…Devils rookie LW Jesper Bratt contributed a couple of assists in a 4-1 win over the Islanders, giving him five points (1 G, 4 A) in the past five games…Stars D John Klingberg and RW Alexander Radulov both had a pair of assists in a 4-2 win at Detroit. Klingberg has 12 points (2 G, 10 A) during an eight-game point streak, and Radulov has 10 points (3 G, 7 A) during a five-game point streak…Red Wings LW Andreas Athanasiou scored one goal and added a helper in a 4-2 loss to Dallas, and has eight points (4 G, 4 A) in the past six games…Red Wings rookie winger Tyler Bertuzzi earned a couple of assists, and has seven points (1 G, 6 A) in the past seven games…Coyotes C Brad Richardson contributed a goal and an assist in a 3-2 shootout win against San Jose, matching his production from the previous 18 games…Stars RW Tyler Pitlick had a strong possession game (18 for, 4 against, 81.8 CF%, 7-2 scoring chances) in a 4-2 win at Detroit…Golden Knights LW Jonathan Marchessault put 15 pucks towards the Predators net (10 SOG) in a 1-0 loss at Nashville.

Blues G Carter Hutton stopped 30 of 31 shots in a 2-1 overtime win at Toronto, giving him a .947 save percentage in his past nine appearances…Maple Leafs G Frederik Andersen turned away 40 of 42 shots in a 2-1 overtime loss against St. Louis, and has a .936 save percentage in his past 24 starts.

Many of the advanced stats used here come from Natural Stat TrickCorsica and Hockey Reference.

Scott Cullen can be reached at